I am suffering the stock market drop. My portfolio for retirement has been devastated. The emotion is gripping. As I pondered my own reaction I realized that I am suffering a grief response. This is not an academic discussion – people across America are suffering the grief of real loss.
So what is Grief? What are the identified characteristics and consequences. I’ll be brief. The first reaction is denial. When we look at our life savings being devastated we are struck with disbelief. Our thoughts wander, ‘This cannot be happening. I am well positioned in the markets. My broker and I consciously prepared…. This cannot be.’
We move through the emotional spectrum to anger. Infuriated anger. Anger that comes from a sense of being out of control. Of fear of the future. Of desperation.
We progress to blaming. I like this one – it gives some temporary psychological relief. ‘This is not my fault. It is the Republicans. It is George Bush. It is the Federal Reserve. It is the Iraq war – they are taking my money.’
The emotions being felt across America are real, and they will have real consequences. The disaster striking at our pocketbooks and our hearts can lead people to irrational thoughts – like “Vote for Ron Paul… This would never have happened if Paul were President… Vote for that Audacity of Hope fellow… He believes in the future… Vote for Romney – he was a businessman and he knows what to do… ”
This monstrous economic downturn can lead to irrational thinking – and that is really dangerous in an election year. This is the time when the American populace need to be most rational.
There is a huge burden today on the News Media. It is critically important that they drop their need for Nielson Ratings and give us straight and honest talk. Pandering to people in an emotional state of grief would be totally irresponsible – like a snake oil salesman of years past promising his elixir of false-hope.
These are trying times. Vigilance is needed. Being responsible today is paramount. Those politicians who try to capitalize on grief should be denied. The Media Hosts who try to capitalize on grief should be fired.
We are in a state of national emergency and we don’t need the politicians or news media screaming ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theater.